Connie Searcy has owned the Hair Gallery on Lee’s Summit Road in Independence for seven years. Around the time she opened the salon, she started displaying her Christmas village during the holiday season. The reason – it became too large to display in her own home.

Connie Searcy has owned the Hair Gallery on Lee’s Summit Road in Independence for seven years. Around the time she opened the salon, she started displaying her Christmas village during the holiday season. The reason – it became too large to display in her own home.

1 The Church

The Christmas village started off with one church. It was made out of an old dynamite box that Searcy’s grandfather brought home from work in the 1950s. Because her grandmother did not like Christmas trees, the wooden church served as the family’s tree. Searcy said when her grandmother died in the 1980s, her aunt actually threw the church in the trash. She said she was lucky enough to rescue it and took it home with her.

2 No Christmas Tree

Searcy’s grandmother was born in the late 1800s when women were meant only to get married and have children. After losing her husband and older son, she was forced to move back home to live with her mother. Searcy said all of her grandmother’s possessions were stored in the attic. One Christmas, her great-grandmother set the Christmas tree on fire, which burned the house to the ground.

“My grandmother lost all of her possessions in that fire,” Searcy said. “Since then, she never liked Christmas trees, so she never had one.”

3 It Started with One

After Searcy came into possession of the family’s church, she decided that the church needed people. And of course, those people needed some place to live and somewhere to go to work. And after those buildings were added, the village needed even more people. She said that is how the once small village grew so quickly and soon, it outgrew her home. She estimates that there are now about 50 houses.

4 Multiplying Churches

Searcy does not have just one church in her village, but several representing different denominations. The original is Baptist and another resembles a Presbyterian church. She said the Catholic church is the most ornate. She even had a customer who is a member of the Community of Christ, who brought her a church that resembles some of its facilities.

5 Two Days to Build

It takes two full days and several people to install the massive Christmas village in the salon each year. Searcy said others usually place the buildings and make them operational, while she handles the placement of the people and trees.

“People really enjoy seeing the village,” she said. “It changes every year, so it is always a surprise.”